|Curt Schilling on D&C: ‘I can’t imagine’ Red Sox will sign Jon Lester to long-term deal||11.14.13 at 11:46 am ET|
ESPN’s Curt Schilling joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning to discuss the MLB offseason, the Red Sox’ World Series title and the results of the Manager of the Year vote.
The AL Manager of the Year was announced on Tuesday, as former Red Sox and current Indians manager Terry Francona narrowly edged Boston manager John Farrell, with just 16 points separating the two skippers.
“It was hard,” Schilling said. “I thought the American League one was incredibly challenging, because I thought you had a bunch of guys that had phenomenal seasons. … I thought either one of them could have won it. I think the job that they both did was amazing.”
The offseason is in full swing, as the annual GM meetings have kicked off in Orlando. The Sox already have been linked to multiple players, including Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann and Carlos Ruiz.
One storyline that has been discussed is what the Sox will do with pitcher Jon Lester once he enters free agency after the 2014 season. If Lester is able to post another great campaign in 2014, the southpaw could command a long-term deal worth over $100 million.
“I think if [Ben Cherington] is allowed to do the things that baseball ops people should be allowed to do and there’s no interference from people that shouldn’t be interfering, I think he’ll stick to [his previous offseason plans],” Schilling said. “You’re not going to see another eight-year, $240 million deal out of this organization, and rightfully so. … There’s literally almost maybe two or three guys in the history of the last 25 years that would have played to [$200 million-plus contracts]. He can’t do it.
“I can’t imagine they would [sign Lester to a six- or seven-year, $100 million-plus deal]. I don’t think you’ll see any team other than probably the Dodgers with [Clayton] Kershaw turn around and give their homegrown player six or seven or eight years, I don’t see it, not from this team anyway. You saw what happened when they tried to go down that path, and I think that is going to be fresh in their minds as long as these guys are still making decisions here.”
|A note of clarification on John Lackey’s salary and the luxury tax threshold||11.13.13 at 12:45 pm ET|
In the aftermath of this look at the Red Sox’ current payroll commitments for 2014, there has been widespread curiosity on one front: Why is John Lackey listed as a $16.5 million salary for luxury tax purposes?
The right-hander is entering the final season of his five-year, $82.5 million contract. But because he missed all of 2012 while recovering from Tommy John surgery, a vesting team option at the major league minimum ($500,000 plus a cost of living adjustment from 2014 to 2015) for 2014 was triggered. So, with that option in place, does it alter the way that Lackey’s 2014 average annual value is calculated for luxury tax purposes?
Simple answer: No.
Even if the Sox exercised Lackey’s 2015 option today, it wouldn’t impact how his AAV is determined in any year of the contract prior to the option. He’d still represent a $16.5 million player for the purposes of 2014 payroll, and he’d still represent approximately a $500,000 player for the purposes of 2015 payroll.
The implications are twofold: First, Lackey represents, at least as of now, the most expensive player on the Sox’ roster in the coming year, and secondly, he represents a potentially game-changing member of the roster for 2015 if he remains healthy and effective while pitching at the major league minimum. If, for instance, the Sox wanted to sign Jon Lester to a long-term deal that would take effect starting in 2015 (something that the team is expected to explore this spring), the payroll flexibility afforded by Lackey could play a significant role in giving the Sox the flexibility to do so while staying well within the luxury tax threshold.
|Source: Red Sox exercise $13 million option for Jon Lester||11.01.13 at 5:40 pm ET|
According to a Major League source, the Red Sox have exercised the $13 million option for Jon Lester for the 2014 season.
Lester recently concluded the fifth year of a five-year, $30 million contract that had a team option for the 2014 season. The Sox had until midnight Saturday night to determine if they were going to pick up Lester’s option.
The 29-year-old has spent his entire eight-year career with the Red Sox. Last season, he went 15-8 with a 3.75 ERA over 213 1/3 innings in the regular season. Lester went 4-1 and allowed six runs over five postseason starts in the team’s postseason run to a World Series championship.
For more Red Sox coverage, visit weei.com/redsox.
|Red Sox pregame notes: Jake Peavy still potential Game 7 starter ‘as of now’; Jon Lester would be available in Game 7||10.30.13 at 5:20 pm ET|
Red Sox manager John Farrell said that, “as of now,” Jake Peavy remains the starter to whom he plans to turn should the World Series reach a winner-take-all seventh game. Each time Farrell has made this claim, he’s offered some sort of qualifier (“as of now,” “right now,” etc.). And so, the manager was asked, is there something that might transpire that would result in someone other than Peavy making the start, or is Farrell simply using a default phrase to preface his remarks?
“It’s probably more the way it’s prefaced,” said Farrell.
Still, the Sox will have the rest of their pitching staff available in a potential Game 7, should the series extend to that point. The available arms, said Farrell, would include left-hander Jon Lester as well as right-hander Clay Buchholz.
“They’ll be available before this is over,” Farrell said of the team’s Game 4 and Game 5 starters.
Farrell clarified that, while Buchholz wouldn’t leapfrog other members of the bullpen in terms of their defined late-innings roles, he could be available to pitch as soon as Game 6 tonight. As for Lester, Farrell said that the lower back discomfort that he was dealing with at the end of Game 5 did not represent a significant concern.
“If there is such a thing, it was normal wear and tear,” said Farrell. “That’s what he’s dealing with.”
Farrell also had more praise for left-hander Felix Doubront, and said that the team would not hesitate to use him out of the bullpen in Game 6. He will not be avoided over concerns about his Game 7 role.
“Doubront’s available tonight. We wouldn’t hold him back for tomorrow,” said Farrell.
OTHER RED SOX NOTES
– Daniel Nava and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, staples of the Red Sox lineup during the regular season, have found themselves relegated to reserve roles as the postseason has evolved, with Jonny Gomes and David Ross taking over primary responsibilities in left field and behind the plate. Farrell acknowledged that a drastic change of responsibilities can be hard for the players to accept, yet he can’t be beholden to player preferences in making his lineup decisions at this time of year. Read the rest of this entry »
|Craig Breslow’s Playoff Blog: No reason to change our approach now||10.29.13 at 3:39 pm ET|
Red Sox left-hander Craig Breslow will contribute regularly to this blog throughout his team’s postseason run. In addition to his work on the mound, the eight-year big leaguer also is the founder and executive director of the Strike 3 Foundation, a charitable agency that heightens awareness, mobilizes support and raises funding for childhood cancer research. To learn more about the Strike 3 Foundation, and its new Play It Forward program, click here.
Back in my first stint with the Red Sox in 2006-07, I pitched with Jon Lester in Triple-A and the big leagues. I remember there being a couple of rumored trades that potentially involved him — one involving Johan Santana — and thinking, “If I were a GM, would I trade him?”
He was young, but you could see he obviously had great stuff, a power arm and great poise. I never reached a conclusion about whether or not I’d make the trade, but I certainly realized he had the potential to be a front-of-the-rotation guy.
He’s certainly been that for us, especially in the playoffs. Coming out of spring training, this team has been led by dominant starting pitching. Guys have passed the torch to one another as to who is the No. 1 starter. Right out of the gate, Clay Buchholz and John Lackey were throwing the ball great. Jon really picked us up right around the All-Star break and has been a bona fide ace ever since.
Much has been made of the starters that we’ve faced throughout the postseason, but Jon deserves to be mentioned ahead of any of the guys you talk about. Everything we’ve asked of him, he’s given us.
In Game 5, with the series tied, 2-2, Jon quietly went out there and I would say he threw the game of his life. But how many times can you throw the game of your life? The way he’s carried himself throughout the postseason has been really impressive. It doesn’t come as a surprise to hear that he has one of the best postseason ERAs of all time, or that Koji Uehara tied the postseason saves record.
But I’ve never thought about quantifying their performances. I know that we’ve played low-scoring, stressful, mentally draining games, and that both of them have had to perform at exceptional levels to help us sustain what we’ve done so far as a team. I’ve simply appreciated them on a qualitative level. I know Jon has thrown the ball really well. I know he’s been everything we’ve needed him to be this postseason. Likewise, I know that when we’ve given Koji a lead, he’s held it down for us.
During the games, it can be difficult to appreciate fully how well they’re performing — particularly when Jon is pitching, since I have to be focused on the game situation and what it means for me in terms of being prepared to follow him into the game. Once Koji gets the ball, though, my time has kind of passed, and then you just think about winning the game. But sometimes before I go to sleep at night, I’ll replay the key points in the game, and that’s when you’ll realize how impressive their performances truly have been.
The way Jon was pitching on Monday, managing his pitch count, it seemed like he had a chance to finish the game out. And then once Koji got up, the rest of us in the bullpen understood that it was probably Jon getting the ball to Koji or Jon finishing the game himself, and there’s some relief when you recognize that pattern. Obviously, all of us in the bullpen are ready to impact the game, but the ideal scenario is your starter gets the ball to your closer or the starter finishes the game himself — especially when you’ve got a starter and closer as good as those two.
Now, we’re one win away from winning the World Series, closing in on the goal that we strive for, and for what we set out to do on Day One of spring training. Yet this proximity can’t change how we approach Game 6.
There’s winning the World Series and not winning the World Series, and being this close to winning is inconsequential. We need to approach the game the same way that we have since the start of the season: We need to win. The ability to focus on that task — regardless of what may have happened the previous game, whether a dramatic win or a crushing loss; regardless of the implications of a win or a loss in front of us – is what makes this team unique and what has gotten us to this point. There’s no reason to change that approach now.
|Monday’s Red Sox-Cardinals World Series Game 5 matchups: Jon Lester vs. Adam Wainwright||10.28.13 at 10:17 am ET|
Jon Lester will be looking for a repeat of his performance from Game 1 of the World Series as he takes the mound for the Red Sox in a crucial Game 5 at Busch Stadium on Monday night.
It will be the final baseball game in St. Louis this season, as the 109th Fall Classic will shift back to Fenway Park for its conclusion.
Lester was brilliant in his last start on Wednesday, as he held the Cardinals to five hits and no earned runs over 7 2/3 innings. Red Sox fans have gotten used to Lester dominating opponents this postseason, as he is 3-1 with a 1.67 ERA in four starts.
It’s been a tale of two seasons for Lester (15-8, 3.75 ERA), as the southpaw had a lackluster first half with a 8-6 record and a 4.58 ERA prior to the All-Star break. However, after July 16, Lester reverted back into the ace pitcher that the Sox had gotten used to seeing from 2008 to 2011.
In his final 13 starts of the season, Lester compiled a 7-2 record with a 2.57 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP.
Lester is no stranger to postseason baseball, as he is one of 60 pitchers to start in 10 playoff games. Lester’s career postseason ERA of 2.06 ranks as the third lowest of any pitcher in MLB history, trailing only Christy Mathewson (0.97) and Waite Hoyt (1.85). The 29-year-old lefty has been able to step his game up to another level when pitching under the bright lights of the World Series, as he has not surrendered a run in 13 1/3 innings over two career starts.
Lester will be opposed by Adam Wainwright (19-9, 2.91 ERA), who will be looking to rebound after an uncharacteristically sloppy start in Game 1.
|Aaron Boone on M&M: ‘I think anyone inside the game really has no issue’ with Jon Lester glove controversy||10.24.13 at 3:43 pm ET|
Former MLB third baseman and current ESPN personality Aaron Boone joined Mut & Merloni on Thursday afternoon to talk about the Red Sox’ Game 1 victory over the Cardinals, as well as the dispute over whether Jon Lester had an illegal substance on his glove during his start on Wednesday.
Lester’s superb performance in Game 1 was marred by the news that Lester may have been using a substance such as Vaseline or pine tar to doctor the baseball.
“I’m sure it was something grip-related, and especially in the cold weather here,” Boone said. “Assuming it was pine tar or something grip-related which I’m almost certain it is, I have no issue with it. I guess by the letter of the law, it is illegal, but I think anyone inside the game really has no issue with it, and you didn’t see any Cardinals saying anything because the reality is probably most of their pitchers, especially this time of the year when it’s cold, are probably doing something to get themselves a better grip on the ball.”
Game 1 was also hit by more controversy during the first inning, as umpire Dana DeMuth blew a call during a potential double play. With runners on first and second, David Ortiz hit a ground ball to second baseman Matt Carpenter, who preceded to flip the ball to shortstop Pete Kozma for what DeMuth ruled as an out at second base. However, the ball simply glanced off of Kozma’s glove. After a protest from Boston manager John Farrell, the umpiring crew convened and the call was reversed.
“As to the reversal, look, they got it right. I totally get [Cardinals manager] Mike Matheny,” Boone said. ”How can the guy clearly standing, looking right at it, making that call overturn it? I understand how that can be extremely frustrating. I think, as an analyst, at the end of the day, the fact that they got it right is probably the best thing that came out of it.”
The Red Sox’ quest for a third World Series title in less than 10 years will not get any easier on Thursday night, as they will face off against rookie phenom Michael Wacha in Game 2. Wacha, the 2013 NLCS MVP, has been brilliant so far this postseason, as he has compiled a 3-0 record with a 0.43 ERA in three starts.
“You talk about those Tigers [starters]. The way Wacha is throwing right now, and the repertoire he has from a stuff standpoint, it’s in that stratosphere,” Boone said. “I mean, it’s as good a fastball/changeup combination as you’ll see … I think he’ll be effective, the question is how deep does he go in this game, because you know Boston is going to make him work and get into that bullpen.
“Now, the difference between the Cardinals and say, the Tigers, is the Cardinals bullpen is much deeper. There’s power arms down there from both sides, so they have the ability to match up late in games and be effective. Now, they’re all young, obviously in their first World Series, so we’ll see how they respond.”
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